| Madame Chamberlaine |

Lollipops and Sausages

"She’s been asking for des sucettes et des saucisses. Can you tell me what these words mean?”


Drip drop. Drip drop. Drip drop.

Shuly and I sat by the window. Would the rain ever stop?

We were bored. No school yet, no friends and no visitors to look forward to. Madame Chamberlaine was in town but she was staying with an old friend.


“Can you get the phone, Shuly?” I asked.

She sighed. “I’m too tired and bored to stand up.”

“I know, me too.”


I forced myself to get the phone.


Bonjour! Madame Chamberlaine?”

“Uh… non. This is not Madame Chamberlaine.”

“So, who are you?” the girl on the phone asked.

“Well, maybe you should first tell me who you are.”

“My name’s Fraidel Freidel. Are you Shuly?”

“No, I’m Shprintzy.”

Bonjour Shprintzy!” Fraidel Freidel said. “I’m Fraidel Freidel.”

“I know, you told me that already four times.”

“Great. Let me tell you why I’m calling. My grandmother’s sister’s cousin came to spend Pesach with us, and she’s staying on for a bit. But we’re having a huge problem. She speaks French and she keeps asking for ‘des sucettes et des saucisses.’ We have no idea what they mean. Can you ask Madame Chamberlaine what these words mean?”

“I can try calling her.”

“Great. I’ll call you back soon. Bye!”

“Who was that?” Shuly asked from the window.

“A girl named Fraidel Freidel. She wants us to ask Madame what des sucettes et des saucisses mean.”

The sky was gray and cloudy and it was still raining.

“Hey, look!”

Coming our way was a pink umbrella! We saw a pink coat and pink high heels under the umbrella.

“It must be Madame Chamberlaine!” we both yelled as we ran to open the door.

Bonjour, mes petites!” Madame said as she shook the rain off her umbrella.

“Can I make you something hot to drink?” I asked her.

Merci beaucoup, but non! I want to make you something hot to drink!”


We sat around the kitchen table. Madame heated milk and chocolate on the stove. She topped each mug with whip cream and cinnamon.

“This is gooooood stuff!” I said as I took a sip.


“That must be Fraidel!” I said. “Madame, I forgot to tell you about her.”

Madame took the phone.

Bonjour! Shprintzy?” the voice on the other end said.

Non, this is Madame Chamberlaine. Is this Fraidel?”

“Madame Chamberlaine!” Fraidel screeched.

Madame smiled. “Hello, Fraidel! Do you want to tell me what the matter is?”

“Yes! My grandmother’s sister’s cousin is staying with us and she’s been asking for des sucettes et des saucisses. Can you tell me what these words mean?”

“Sure, Fraidel! Des sucettes means lollipops and des saucisses means sausages.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you! I’ll tell my mother right now. Bye!”

Half an hour later, the phone rang again.

“Hi! It’s Fraidel Freidel again. Do you remember me?”

“I sure do, Fraidel,” I said. “What’s the matter now?”

“It’s not working. My grandmother’s sister’s cousin doesn’t want to eat the lollipops and sausages that we bought her. She shakes her head and says, “Non, non, non!”

I handed the phone to Madame Chamberlaine.

Soon, she hung up the phone and said, “Alors, mes filles. Are you bored?”

“We were bored before you came!”

“Good, because we’re going to visit Madame Collette, Fraidel’s grandmother’s sister’s cousin. Coming?”

We put on our rain gear, said goodbye to our mother, and followed Madame out the door.

We arrived at a red brick house. The window frames were red, the door was red, and the flowers on the front lawn were red.

There was a red nameplate on the door. It said “Freidel Family.”

“Oh!” I said. “I thought Fraidel was joking when she said her name was Fraidel Freidel.”

Madame rang the bell.

Mrs. Freidel opened the door. “You must be the Madame that my daughter Fraidel called. Thank you for coming. Come inside quickly because I see that you’re all sopping wet. Come sit next to our fireplace. You’ll dry off and warm up really fast.”

She led us into a cozy, warm living room. A fire crackled and danced in the fireplace. Sitting in a wooden rocking chair next to the fire was a small woman. Her white sheitel was tied in a white bun. Perched on her nose was a pair of round glasses. Her hands were very thin.

Madame stood before her. “Bonjour! You must be Madame Collette!”

Madame Collette looked up. “Oui. Et toi?”

Soon the two were talking in French.

A girl, her long red hair tied in two braids, skipped into the room.

“Hey!” she said. “You came! Do you remember who I am?”

“You must be Fraidel Freidel!”

Fraidel nodded. “Does Madame Chamberlaine understand what my grandmother’s sister’s cousin wants?”

I shrugged. “She’s talking to her right now.”

Madame turned to us. “She says that she wants lollipops and sausages.”

“But we gave that to her already,” Mrs. Freidel said. “She refuses to eat them.”

“Can I try?” Madame asked.

She got some sausages and lollipops from the kitchen and brought them to Madame Collette.

Madame shook her head. “Non, non, non!”

“So, what do you want?” Madame asked. “Le pain? Des bons bons? La viande? Le fromage? Une pomme?”

Madame Collette shook her head. “Non, non, non! Je veux une sucette!”

Madame showed her the lollipop. “This is a sucette!”

Non, non, non!” Madame Collette said. “Une sucette that is green!”

“You want a green lollipop?” Madame asked.

Madame Collette nodded. “Oui, oui, oui!”

Madame ran to the kitchen to get a green lollipop. She offered it to Madame Collette.

Madame Collette shook her head sadly. “Non, non, non!”

“Quick, what other foods are green?” Madame asked us.





Suddenly, Madame Collette jumped off the rocking chair! Her glasses flew off her nose.

Oui!” she roared.

“Cucumbers?” we all asked at once.

Oui! Oui! I forgot how to say it!”

“How are cucumbers lollipops?” Fraidel asked.

Madame Collette laughed. “When my children were little, I used to call cucumbers lollipops so that they would eat them. And now I always call cucumbers lollipops.”

She said this quickly in French, and Madame Chamberlaine translated.

We all laughed.

“Wait, so what are sausages?”

“I can’t remember the real word,” Madame Collette said.

“Sausages are red,” Fraidel said. “What other food is red?”


“Red Pepper?”

“Barbeque potato chips?”


Madame Collette jumped high into the air. “Oui!” she yelled.

“Tomatoes?” we all asked together.

Oui, oui, oui!” Madame Collette said. “Sausages are tomatoes! That’s what we always called tomatoes!” she said in French, with Madame translating.

Mrs. Freidel ran to the kitchen and cut up some cucumbers and tomatoes. She brought them to Madame Collette.

“Here you have some lollipops and sausages!”

Merci beaucoup! Merci beaucoup!”

Madame Collette ate everything on the plate. “That was the tastiest lollipops and sausages I ever ate. Thank you, Fraidel Freidel, for calling Madame Chamberlaine!” she said, Madame translating this as well.

Fraidel smiled at us. “You’ll always remember my name, won’t you?”

We nodded. “Fraidel Freidel. You have a very unique name.”

We said goodbye to the Freidels and went home. When my mother heard about the sausages and lollypops she laughed and decided that it was a really good idea to call cucumbers lollypops and tomatoes sausages. So, from that day on, we ate lots of “lollypops and sausages.” Madame Chamberlaine also decided to call them that. But she calls them des sucettes et des saucisses. So, how are you calling cucumbers and tomatoes in your house?

Bonjour– Hello

Des sucettes et des saucisses – lollypops and sausages

Mes petites – my little ones

Non – no

Merci beaucoup – thank you very much

Oui – yes

Et toi – and you

Le pain – bread

Des bonbons – some candies

La viande – meat

Le fromage – cheese

Une pomme – an apple

Je veux une sucette – I want a lollipop

Thank you, Mrs. Zweibel, for sharing this novel idea with my kids.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 807)

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